Ministry engages private sector on health financing

Ministry engages private sector on health financing

Ministry of Health says the private sector is key to improving the quality of health services by investing in the sector to fill the gap which exists due to inadequate funding in the national health budget.

Chief of health services Dr Lilian Chunda said this in Lilongwe yesterday during a breakfast meeting on health financing hosted by the ministry and attended by heads of institutions in the private sector.

“According to the World Health Organisation [WHO], we need $86 per capita to treat a patient, which translates to about K136 200, but what we have is just half of that, so we need the private sector to come in and cover the gap,” she said.

Chunda: We are heavily subsidised
by donors

Chunda said the health sector has investment opportunities such as the provision of actual services, investing in infrastructure, supporting referrals research and other services.

She said half of the health funding comes from donors, 25 percent of the local resources comes from government while the private sector shoulders the remainder.

Said Chunda: “You can see that we are heavily subsidised by donors so we are trying to improve local resource mobilisation so that if one day the donors decide to withdraw their support, the health sector should not collapse.”

In the current budget, the government allocated K729.47 billion to the Ministry of Health representing 12.2 percent of the total budget which is 2.8 percent short of 15 percent according to the Abuja Declaration.

One of the players who attended the meeting, Press Trust chief executive officer Gibson Ngalamira welcomed the ministry’s call.

He acknowledged that the private sector has a role to play to improve the health system.

Said Ngalamira: “As Press Trust, we already support the health system and other sectors as well but the ministry has done well by inviting the private sector to explain to them the opportunities in the health system.”

Malawi Health Equity Network executive director George Jobe said attracting the private sector into provision of health services can help to improve the efficiency of the system and the quality of services offered.

“What we need are resources so if the private sector can bring in these much needed resources, then what the ministry is doing is the right thing to do for us. We all know that health service delivery is expensive so we need more hands,” he said.

Jobe added that government should put in place conducive conditions to attract more investment from the private sector and demonstrate that there are indeed benefits in investing in it.

The eight-year Health Sector Strategic Plan III estimates that the health system requires $31.2 billion to cover the whole eight years and the 2024/25 financial year requires an estimated $537.1 million

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